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Kenya's history dates back to many centuries of early settlements and migrations. There was formation of various language groups who developed their own religions, traditions, governments and ruling systems. White settlers arrived followed by the fight for liberation, which gave birth to the Mau Mau freedom fighters and the rise of the Kenyan heroes.

Recent finds near Kenya's Lake Turkana indicate that hominids lived in the area 2.6 million years ago. Cushitic-speaking people from northern Africa moved into the area that is now Kenya beginning around 2000 BC. Arab traders began frequenting the Kenya coast around the first century AD. Kenya's proximity to the Arabian Peninsula invited colonization of Arab and Persian settlements along the coast by the eighth century. Nilotic and Bantu peoples moved into the region. The Swahili language, a mixture of Bantu and Arabic, developed as a lingua franca for trade between the different peoples. Arab dominance on the coast was eclipsed by the arrival of the Portuguese in 1498, who gave way in turn to Islamic control in the 1600s. The United Kingdom established its influence in the 19th century.

The colonial history of Kenya dates from the Berlin Conference of 1885, when the European powers first partitioned East Africa into spheres of influence. In 1895, the U.K. Government established the East African Protectorate and, soon after, opened the fertile highlands to white settlers. The settlers were allowed a voice in government even before it was officially made a U.K. colony in 1920, but Africans were prohibited from direct political participation until 1944. From October 1952 to December 1959, Kenya was under a state of emergency arising from the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule. During this period, African participation in the political process increased rapidly.

From 1964 to 1992, the country was ruled as a one-party state by the Kenya African National Union, first



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